FG to Kick-start Mechanized Agriculture in 632 Local Governments – Nanono

Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, has stated that the Ministry is set to kick-start Agricultural Mechanization programme in 632 Local Government Areas in the Country.

The Minister made this known when he received in audience the Executive Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom in his office in Abuja recently.

According to him, the initiative is expected to involve a full technology package transfer that will cover all the stages, from production to industrial processing down to marketing. The policy would ensure that Nigeria achieves food security, job creation and economic growth in the country.

He also informed that the programme would involve 632 Local Government Areas (LGAs) across the country. He said, “Each LGA would have Service Centers with a brand new Tractor fully equipped with the admin and IT workshop, there will also be stores for seeds, fertilizer and excess produce. With these, we will link farmers up with processing industries especially clusters at the Local Governments producing the same thing, they will be provided with processing plants.”

He pointed out that the mechanization services would be driven by the people in the LGAs, and encouraged individuals and groups to come up with proposals of how to manage the Service Centers, assuring them that the Federal Government will guarantee the facilities.

The Minister further explained that, the investment of potential manager of the service centers may not be more than N 5-6 million, but they will own assets worth the tune of N150 million for a period of 15 years.”

Giving a Breakdown of how the programme will generate Income, he said, “A Tractor that works for an estimated N 60,000-N75, 000 per day can generate an income of about N30,000-N40,000 per day after expenses, with this, the Service Centers can pay for the Tractor in an average of 6-7 years. Noting that, the Tractors can last for about 25 years.”

Nanono emphasized that the loan acquired can only finance 10,000 Tractors and the gap for improvement in terms of bridging the gap in Agricultural Mechanization is so huge, he hopes that this will work very well so that the private sector can drive it.

He therefore pledged that the Federal Government will partner with Benue State Government which will be beneficial to each of its LGAs. On the issue of Soya Beans production, the Minister disclosed that there is enormous market potential in China and a critical research is ongoing to boost food production and job creation.

In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom, said, “If you ask me, Nigeria’s major challenge is not the security problem alone, but unemployment and agriculture remains the one sector that has the capacity for creating jobs, and wealth for the teeming jobless youths. If we are able to engage the youths, we will have fewer problems in the country.”

He assured the Minister of the State’s commitment to partner with the Ministry, saying, “We are committed to partnering and collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to ensure we provide food security for Nigeria and beyond. Benue State is 35,000 sq meter of land, and more than 95 percent of the land is arable and most of the food produced in the country can be produced in Benue State, and they are able to do all year round farming.”

Ezeaja Ikemefuna
For: Director, Information (FMARD)